Eat high-fiber foods to reduce effects of stress on gut and behavior

July 31, 2018

Eating high fibre foods may reduce the effects of stress on our gut and behaviour, according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology.

Stress is a significant health concern and can cause major changes in the gut and in the brain, which can cause changes in behaviour. In recent years there has been growing interest in the link between gut bacteria and stress-related disorders including anxiety, depression and irritable bowel syndrome.

Bacteria in the gut produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are the main source of nutrition for cells in this region of the body1. Foods such as grains, legumes and vegetables, contain high levels of fibres and will stimulate the production of these SCFAs.

The study conducted by scientists at APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre found that there was decreased levels of stress and anxiety-like behaviour when SCFAs were introduced.

Moreover, stress experienced over a prolonged period of time can affect the bowel by making the barrier between the inside of the gut and the rest of the body less effective and "leaky". This means undigested food particles, bacteria and germs will pass through the leaky gut wall into the blood and cause persistent inflammation. Treating with the SCFAs can also reverse this "leakiness".

These results provide new insights into mechanisms related to the impact of the gut bacteria on the brain and behaviour as well as gut health. Developing dietary treatments which target these bacteria will be important for treating stress-related disorders.

The study involved feeding mice the main SCFAs normally produced by the gut bacteria and then subjecting them to stress. Using behavioural tests the mice were assessed for anxiety and depressive-like behaviour, stress-responsiveness, cognition and sociability as well as how easily material passes through the gut.

The exact mechanisms by which SCFAs facilitate their effect remain undetermined. SCFAs had no effect on an increase in body weight caused by stress therefore understanding why SCFAs only affect certain stress-induced effects will be important.

Professor John F. Cryan, the corresponding author on the research, commented on the findings 'There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behaviour. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now. It will be crucial that we look at whether short-chain fatty acids can ameliorate symptoms of stress-related disorders in humans.'
-end-


The Physiological Society

Related Bacteria Articles from Brightsurf:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.

How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.

Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.

Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.

Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.

How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.

The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.

Read More: Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.